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THE ARTISTIC LIFE 287
This playing mood accounts for a certain quality of Chinese painting, called yiğ The nearest word for this in translation is "fugitiveness," if this word may be used to denote at the same time "romanticism" and "the spirit of the recluse.9* It is this quality of light-hearted and carefree romanticism which distinguishes Li Po's poetry. This ji or "fugitive" or "recluse33 quality is prized as the highest quality of the scholar's paintings, and it comes from the playing spirit. Like Taoism, it is the effort of the human spirit to get away from the workaday humdrum world, and achieve a light-hearted freedom.
This desire is understandable when we realize how much the scholar's spirit was restrained in the moral and political spheres, and in painting at least, it did its best to recover that freedom. Ni Yunlin (1301-1374), a great Yuan painter most distinguished for this quality, said: "My bamboo paintings are not intended merely to paint the fugitive spirit in my breast, What do I care whether they are exact or not, whether the leaves are thick or thin, or whether the branches are straight or crooked?" Again, he said: "What I call painting is only a few swiftly-made strokes of the romantic brush, not intended to copy reality, but merely to please myself"
One should recognize, therefore, in Chinese ink-drawings of human figures and landscapes of the southern school, certain influences of calligraphy. First, one sees the swift, powerful and always highly rhythmic strokes. In the twisting lines of the pine tree one sees the same principle of twisting used in Chinese writings. Tung Ch'ich'ang said about painting trees that every line should twist all along, and Wang Hsichih said of calligraphy that every slanting line should have three twists. Tung Ch'ich'ang also said that "when scholars paint, they should apply the laws of the running script, the lishu, and the archaic script." One sees also in the hollow wavy lines of the rocks a type of script called feipo, which is written with a relatively dry brush, leaving many hollow lines in the centre of the strokes, and sees in the entwining branches of the trees the wriggling lines of the seal character. For this is a secret left us by Chao Mengfu himself* Further, the artistic use of blank space is an important calligraphic principle, for proper spacing is the very first law of calligraphy, as stated by Pao Shenpo. If